October 23, 2004

Dave Tianen finds out what the rockers who came across the pond four decades ago are up to now.

In 1964 and '65, the British Invasion nearly turned the American music charts into an artistic colony for John Bull, sweeping aside much of the first generation of U.S. rock stars in the process. Major acts like Rick Nelson, Dion, Connie Francis and Bobby Darin were all but vaporized.

Some of the British acts that dominated that time retain their superstar status 40 years later. The two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, both continue to record and tour. While neither of them is still an A-list recording artist, McCartney remains a top concert draw.

Although Brian Jones is long dead, Bill Wyman has retired and Charlie Watts is undergoing treatment for throat cancer, the Rolling Stones continue to be one of the handful of legitimate stadium-level attractions in the rock 'n' roll universe.

Perhaps they should call Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend Who's Left? Despite the 2002 death of John Entwhistle, the Who continue to lumber on with just Daltrey and Townshend. There is even talk of a new album.

After that, however, it gets spotty. A handful of British Invasion bands remain active as recording artists. Others soldier on, working the oldies circuit. Still others are dead, retired or missing in action.

Here's what's become of the Lost Invaders:

The Animals

No British Invasion act had a bluesier, tougher sound than the Animals. Under the leadership of frontman Eric Burdon, the Animals put together an imposing string of hits including The House of the Rising Sun, I'm Crying, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood and We Gotta Get Out of This Place.

Unfortunately, the Animals were not the most-close knit of bands. By 1965, the group had already started to fragment when keyboardist Alan Price left to pursue a successful solo career in the U.K. The turnover continued and, in 1968, the Animals called it quits, although there were brief reunions in 1976 and 1983.

Chas Chandler and Dave Rowberry have both died, but Price and Burdon remain active in music. Price's most recent album is a collaboration with Georgie Fame.

Burdon is based in Los Angeles and has a new band called Eric Burdon's I Band. He also does oldies shows with a band called the New Animals. Recently, Burdon released a disc called My Secret Life on the SPV label.

Chad & Jeremy

Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde had a softer, folkier sound than most of their competition, but that distinction may have helped them put three straight hits on the charts in '64: Yesterday's Gone, A Summer Song and Willow Weep for Me.

After that, the hits tapered off and in 1967, Chad and Jeremy broke up. Jeremy turned to acting and appeared in several stage and film productions, including the 2000 release The Musketeer.

Chad eventually moved to Ketchum, Idaho, where he teaches music and writes children's books.

Chad & Jeremy reunited briefly in 1982, and again in 2003 when they performed in Cleveland as part of a British Invasion nostalgia concert.

Dave Clark Five

In commercial terms, the Dave Clark Five were second only to the Beatles among British Invasion bands. From 1964 to '66, they registered 16 Top 40 hits, including Glad All Over, Bits and Pieces, Do You Love Me and Can't You See That She's Mine.

But unlike the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five never really evolved musically. By the end of 1967, the hits were over. The band broke up in 1970, although Clark and lead singer Mike Smith started a new group called Dave Clark and Friends.

The members of the Dave Clark Five drifted in different directions. Dennis Payton went into real estate, Lenny Davidson became a guitar teacher and Rick Huxley went to work for the Vox guitar company.

Clark stayed in show business producing videos from the British music series Ready Steady Go! and writing a successful London stage musical called Time.

Smith started a new band called Mike Smith's Rock Engine. Last year, he was severely injured in a fall at his home in Spain, and is paralysed with limited movement in only one arm.

Petula Clark

"Pet" Clark was older, and more conservative, more mainstream, more old-fashioned pop than most of the British acts that conquered America in '64. Still, she managed a huge hit with Downtown and, by 1967, she was still recording top 10 hits with This Is My Song and Don't Sleep in the Subway.

She had a brief run as a movie star in Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Finian's Rainbow, and then turned to stage acting, which she continues to do in her 70s.


At the time, Donovan was hailed as a kind of across-the-pond Dylan with an added layer or two of hippie innocence. He was also a very successful hippie with such hits as Mellow Yellow, Sunshine Superman, Atlantis and Hurdy Gurdy Man.

Ultimately, Donovan proved a more enduring presence than the Dylan wannabe assessment might allow. Although there have been periods of dormancy, he has remained in the game; he recently released an album called Beat Cafe. A handful of club dates in New York and San Francisco in support of the album have reportedly done very well.

Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull is one of the more arresting survivor tales in rock history. The one-time student at the St. John Convent School, Faithfull was a deceptively virginal-looking pop star in '64 with As Tears Go By. Other hits followed, as did a tumultuous romance with Mick Jagger.

Subsequent years have been punctuated by heroin addiction, prostitution, breakdowns and a suicide attempt. Through it all, she somehow survived and even prospered artistically. Her 1979 comeback album, Broken English, revealed a foul-mouthed, raspy-voiced woman all but unrecognizable from the innocent waif of 1965.

She's still active today. Kissin' Time from 2002 found her working with such respected young guns as Beck and Billy Corgan.

Freddie and the Dreamers

Freddie and the Dreamers were the comic relief of the British Invasion, a former skiffle band from Manchester, England, that put together a string of four lighthearted hits in 1965: I'm Telling You Now, I Understand (Just How You Feel), Do the Freddie and You Were Made for Me.

The original Dreamers continue to perform in England, although drummer Bernie Dwyer died of cancer in 2002. Freddie Garrity is hospitalized in frail health.

Gerry and the Pacemakers

The Beatles were not Brian Epstein's sole management project. One of his moonlighting projects was a former skiffle act called Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Gerry and the Pacemakers had their moment of Merseybeat glory in 1964-'65 with Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying, I'll Be There, How Do You Do It? and Ferry Cross the Mersey. The group also had a huge hit in England with a remake of You'll Never Walk Alone.

The Pacemakers disbanded in 1966, but have reunited occasionally for oldies shows. Gerry Marsden also performs as a solo act in the Liverpool area. He had successful heart bypass surgery in 2003.

Herman's Hermits

The downside of having your first hit when you're 14 is that you can be a has-been at 16.

That's sort of what happened to Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits. They had seven top 10 hits in 1965, but the last one was in '67 and, by 1971, the group had broken up amid legal wrangling that has never entirely gone away. Today, there are two different rival versions of the Hermits, one fronted by Noone and another with drummer Barry Whitwam.

Although he's never had another hit, Noone has remained an active presence, acting on Broadway and hosting VH1's My Generation.

The Hollies

The Hollies ended up having a much longer chart life than most of their British Invasion contemporaries. In fact, the Beatles were already history by the time the Hollies had their biggest hit, Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress), in 1972.

The Hollies originally started out as a collaboration by Manchester teenagers Allan Clarke and Graham Nash. After a string of early hits that included Bus Stop and Carrie-Anne, Nash left the group to gain even greater star status in Crosby, Stills & Nash. Clarke left the band in 1971 but reunited several times with the group over the next two decades. Clarke has now retired, but a version of the Hollies with Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliott continues to play.

Tom Jones

The big-voiced, swaggering R&B of It's Not Unusual set Welshman Tom Jones apart from the other U.K. imports of 1964 and '65. But within a couple years, Jones traded in his soul and rock influences for profitable shlock like Delilah and Help Yourself. Now a robust 64, Jones still tours and records, and has seemed more musically engaged in recent years, working with the likes of Wyclef Jean and Barenaked Ladies.

The Kinks

Although they will never work together again, the Kinks are one of the few major British Invasion acts with all the original members still living. And like the Who and the Stones, they proved to be a durable, if volatile, ensemble that was still scoring hits 20 years after You Really Got Me and All Day and All of the Night.

The past year has been a rough one health-wise for the Davies brothers. In January, Ray Davies was shot while attempting to prevent a purse-snatching in New Orleans. Guitarist Dave Davies suffered a stroke in late June.

Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas

A part-time engineer/part-time singer from Liverpool, Kramer (real name William Howard Ashton) had the good fortune to have a manager named Brian Epstein. That association paid off with a double-sided hit Little Children/Bad To Me in the early days of Beatlemania. Although the hits stopped coming after '64, Kramer stayed in the music business and continues to play oldies dates. He now lives in Long Island, N.Y. The Dakotas continue to play in the U.K.


Not all British Invasion acts were guys, or even bands. One of the biggest hits of 1967 was To Sir With Love, the movie theme song warbled by Scottish teenager Lulu (real name Marie Lawrie).

Although never a huge star in the States, Lulu has been an enduring and popular performer in the U.K. She starred in several successful BBC series, including Lulu's Back in Town, Happening to Lulu, It's Lulu, Lulu's Party and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.

She's hosted her radio show Sunday's Best and starred in stage productions of Peter Pan, Adelaide, Guys and Dolls and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance. She has also continued to record, successfully scoring a No. 1 hit with Relight My Fire in 1993. A new album, Back on Track, is due out this month.

Manfred Mann

Probably no British Invasion act veered further from its natural musical inclinations than Manfred Mann. Silly as it was, Do Wah Diddy Diddy was a huge hit in 1964, but it was also light-years from the roots of Mann, who had played with Hugh Masekela and took his name from jazz drummer Shelly Manne.

After Mann's original run of success, he had a second run in the '70s with Manfred Mann's Earth Band, scoring a No. 1 hit with Blinded by the Light. Parts of the band, including Mann, singer Paul Jones and Mike D'Abo, have staged reunions in recent years.

Peter and Gordon

Sometimes your sister's dating life can really affect your career. It worked out that way for Peter Asher and Gordon Waller. Paul McCartney was dating Peter's sister Jane, befriended her brother and ended up writing several songs for Peter and Gordon, including the No. 1 hit A World Without Love. Nine more Top 40 hits followed before the duo broke up in 1968.

Waller went on to star in stage productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and currently has his own music publishing company. Asher went on to become one of rock's most in-demand producers, working with Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Carole King, Warren Zevon and Randy Newman. He currently manages Macy Gray.

The Searchers

Like many Brit bands, the Searchers had an auspicious year in 1964, scoring five Top 40 hits including Love Potion Number Nine and Needles and Pins. Although there have been some personnel changes, the group remains active today and still tours internationally, with founding member John McNally in the lead.

Dusty Springfield

When she hit the top 10 in '64 with Wishin' and Hopin', Dusty Springfield was already a proven hit-maker, having reached the Top 10 two years earlier with her brother Tom as part of the Springfields. Other hits followed, most notably 1968's Son of a Preacher Man from the landmark album Dusty in Memphis, which established her as one of the greatest blue-eyed soul singers.

Although she struggled with chemical-abuse issues, Springfield remained active into the '80s and '90s, scoring a No. 2 hit -- What Have I Done To Deserve This? -- with the Pet Shop Boys in 1987. She died of breast cancer in 1999.

The Yardbirds

No band in rock has had a more stellar succession of guitarists than the Yardbirds: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. All three went on to become storied figures.

But the American chart life of the band itself was relatively short. All six of the Yardbirds' Top 40 hits occurred in 1965 and '66. Although the band broke up in 1968 and frontman Keith Relf died from an electric shock in 1976, the Yardbirds still exist as an active group with original members Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty.

The Zombies

The Zombies had already been disbanded for almost two years by the time their third and final hit -- Time of the Season -- invaded the top 10. But with leader Rod Argent's classical training, the Zombies also possessed instrumental and songwriting chops well above the standard for the mid '60s.

Argent went on to success with his own band, also called Argent. Singer Colin Blunstone embarked on a solo career with less commercial success, while Paul Atkinson went into A&R working with front-line acts like Aerosmith and Paul McCartney.

This year, Argent and Blunstone reunited for a new disc, The Zombies: As Far As I Can See. Atkinson died in April.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2004

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